During his 30-year tenure with the Grateful Dead, guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir logged over 2,300 live performances. In the nearly three decades since Jerry Garcia‘s death ended the band, Weir has remained an agent of perpetual motion as he’s toured with Grateful Dead spin-offs like Furthur and Dead & Company and more personal pursuits like RatDog and Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. It turns out, however, that stepping out onstage for the 75-year-old elder statesman is “like walking into a torture chamber every time.”

In a new interview with Alan Paul (One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band) for Guitar World, Bob Weir confesses to a lifetime of stage fright. Though the guitarist has made a home on the lighted stage, the brief time before he hits his mark is pure agony.

“It’s the anticipation, the time before walking out,” Weir said. “There is a moment onstage when I think, ‘Thank God, I’m out of here.’ I can forget myself, leave the building and let the characters in the songs have my body, my spirit and everything else. I can take a breather and not have to worry about it. As far as the size of the crowd, a living room is the toughest for me. Oftentimes the larger the crowd, the way easier it is for me.”

He also revealed that Garcia shared the same malady, something they briefly bonded over and coped with in their own ways.

“And you could make the case that that’s what killed [Jerry], because he used those drugs to dull the stage fright, to dull the pain of it, because it physically hurt,” Weir said. “We talked about it a fair bit. We compared notes on how we dealt with stage fright. It wasn’t an ongoing conversation, because there wasn’t much new to add to it after the first six months that I’d known him.

“After we realized we were in the same boat, there wasn’t much more to say about it, but we would sometimes give each other looks that said, ‘It’s okay, I got past it. How are you doing?’”

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Paul made the connection to one of his frequent interview subjects, Gregg Allman, who suffered from the same anxiety. Weir challenged the notions that many fans carry of their favorite artists.

“People think we can’t wait to get on stage,” Weir said. “I want to play, yes, but those last few steps on stage are like walking into a torture chamber every time. It’s not easy.”

In a recent interview with Andy Cohen, Weir stated that it was his relentless touring in the aftermath of Jerry’s death that helped him grieve the loss of his friend and bandmate.

“I tell you what, I’m not sure if I ever did,” Weir responded when asked how he processed Jerry’s death in 1995. “I was just wondering about that. I think, what I did, ‘What am I gonna do? I’m gonna hit the road, that’s what Jerry would’ve wanted me to do.’ And I did, I stayed on the road for a long time after Jerry checked out. And you know, by the time I finally came home and my wounds were all licked, I was okay. … I guess I processed the grief to a greater extent than not just by playing.”

The new Guitar World interview touches on an array of other topics, including the origins of Wolf Bros and how the 2021 addition of The Wolfpack prepared the group for its recent John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts residency with the National Symphony Orchestra. Weir also discussed the differences between playing in the Dead with Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh versus with his Dead & Company bandmates John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge, something he won’t be doing too much longer in an official capacity. Read the whole thing here.